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www.chosun.com South Korea’s population dips below 50M

South Koreas population dips below 50M Elderly set to exceed 30% by 2034

Elderly set to exceed 30% by 2034

The population of South Korean nationals residing in the country has dropped below 50 million for the first time in six years, largely due to low birth rates.

Projections suggest that by 2042, this figure may not even reach 47 million.

According to data released by Statistics Korea on April 11, the population of South Korean nationals decreased from 50,021,000 in 2022 to 49,847,000 in 2023. After surpassing the 50 million mark in 2018 with a population of 50,024,000, the figure had remained in the 50 million range for five years before dropping to the 40 million range last year.

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www.cnn.com Want to visit Brazil? From next year, US travelers will need to share their bank statements first | CNN

From April 2025, travelers from Australia, Canada and the US will need a visa to visit Brazil. But to get it, applicants will need to show they have at least $2,000 in their bank account.

2024 is shaping up to be the year of travel reprieves.

Hot on the heels of the European Union postponing (again) its much-mooted ETIAS program, which will require visitors from most non-EU countries to obtain pre-travel clearance, Brazil has pushed back the start of its new visa system for travelers from the US, Canada and Australia.

However, if 2024 is the year of the reprieve, 2025 is when everything will hit home. And for travelers from those three countries heading to Brazil, it’ll hit home, hit their bank balances – and require them to share their bank statements, too.

ETIAS is slated to start in 2025 and Brazil has now confirmed a start date for its visa program.

From April 10, 2025, citizens from Australia, Canada and the US will need a visa to enter the country. On the plus side, those traveling for tourism or cruise travel can apply for an evisa online, rather than visiting a consulate.

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arstechnica.com Sketchy Botox shots spark multistate outbreak of botulism-like condition

So far at least six people in two states have fallen ill; four of them were hospitalized.

So far at least six people in two states have fallen ill; four of them were hospitalized.

Botox are behind a multistate outbreak of botulism-like illnesses, state health officials report.

So far, at least six people have fallen ill in two states: four in Tennessee and two in Illinois. Four of the six people required hospitalization for their condition (two in Tennessee and both cases in Illinois).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly planning a nationwide alert to notify clinicians of the potentially counterfeit Botox and advise them to be on the lookout for botulism-like illnesses. The agency did not immediately respond to Ars' request for information.

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www.newsweek.com Sign of aging reversed by simple exercise

"Everyone says that '[aging is] just part of getting older,' but this doesn't actually have to be true," researchers say.

Scientists have identified a new sign of biological aging that may be reversible through simple exercise.

Most of us see aging as an inevitable process of life, but some scientists are beginning to consider it a disease that we can treat or at least delay.

"The idea that we could reverse aging is something that was long considered science fiction, but these findings do allow us to understand a lot more about the aging process," said Riekelt Houtkooper, Professor of Translational Metabolism at Amsterdam University Medical Centre, said in a statement.

As we age, certain molecules begin to build up in our cells and contribute to their gradual decline. These molecules offer an enticing target for treating age-related diseases and aging in general. The only problem is, for the most part we don't know what they are.

In a study published in the journal Nature Aging, Houtkooper and his Amsterdam University colleagues set about finding one of these aging-related molecules and potential methods for reversing its accumulation.

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www.theguardian.com Bird flu detected among chickens in Texas and Michigan

Ca-Maine Foods, largest fresh egg producer in US, temporarily halts production at one Texas facility after discovering virus

Ca-Maine Foods, largest fresh egg producer in US, temporarily halts production at one Texas facility after discovering virus

Avian influenza has been detected among chickens in Texas and Michigan, following news of the virus infecting livestock and then a person for the first time in the US and potentially leading to supply chain issues.

The developments have led to a heightened focus on the potential risks of the virus, especially in the wake of the devastating coronavirus pandemic. But experts are saying that there is little chance of transmission between humans at this point.

Cal-Maine Foods, the largest producer of fresh eggs in the US, has temporarily halted production at one Texas facility and is killing 1.6 million hens and 337,000 chicks – 3.6%of its entire flock – after discovering the highly pathogenic virus among its domesticated birds.

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www.nbcnews.com Houston hospital halts liver and kidney transplants after learning a doctor manipulated records

Patients were not able to receive organ donations because the altered records "effectively inactivated the candidates on the liver transplant waiting list," Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center said in a statement.

Patients were not able to receive organ donations because the altered records "effectively inactivated the candidates on the liver transplant waiting list," Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center said in a statement.

A Houston hospital has halted its liver and kidney transplant programs after discovering that a doctor manipulated records for liver transplant candidates, according to media reports.

“Inappropriate changes … effectively inactivated the candidates on the liver transplant waiting list,” Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center said in a statement, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Subsequently, these patients did not/were not able to receive organ donation offers while inactive.”

The medical center said in the statement that the doctor admitted to changing patient records.

The New York Times, citing officials, identified him as transplant surgeon Dr. J. Steve Bynon Jr. The newspaper reported that he is employed by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and has had a contract to lead Memorial Hermann’s abdominal transplant program since 2011.

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www.nippon.com Japan's Population Falls for 13th Straight Year

Tokyo, April 12 (Jiji Press)--Japan's population, including non-Japanese residents, as of Oct. 1 last year dro…

Japan's population, including non-Japanese residents, as of Oct. 1 last year dropped by 595,000, or 0.48 pct, from a year before to 124,352,000, down for the 13th successive year, the internal affairs ministry said Friday.

The number of people aged 75 or over exceeded 20 million for the first time ever, showing that the aging of the country's population has advanced further.

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apnews.com A near-total ban on abortion has supercharged the political dynamics of Arizona, a key swing state

A stunning abortion ruling this week has supercharged Arizona’s role in the looming fall election. Suddenly, emboldened national Democrats are pouring new resources into the state as Republicans scramble to navigate the evolving political landscape while confronting nagging internal divisions.

Arizona was already expected to be one of the most closely contested states in November’s U.S. presidential election. But a ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged the state’s role, transforming it into perhaps the nation’s most critical battleground.

This Sunbelt state with a fierce independent streak has long been at the forefront of the nation’s immigration debate due to its 378-mile border with Mexico and its large Hispanic and immigrant populations. It now moves to the center of the national debate over reproductive rights after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a federally guaranteed right to abortion.

Abortion and immigration have been two of this year’s biggest political issues. No battleground state has been affected more directly by both than Arizona.

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www.theguardian.com Colombians told to shower with a friend as drought hits capital water supplies

Bogotá brings in water rationing with El Niño weather phenomenon meaning city could run out in under two months

Bogotá brings in water rationing with El Niño weather phenomenon meaning city could run out in under two months

Couples in Bogotá are being asked to shower together as water supplies are rationed in the Colombian capital.

Major neighbourhoods were cut off from the water grid on Thursday to preserve dangerously low water levels at reservoirs that have been starved of rain by the weather phenomenon known as El Niño.

As well as recommending that those in a relationship get under the showerhead together, the mayor of Bogotá, Carlos Fernando Galán, asked residents to consider abandoning their daily hygiene practices entirely given the reservoirs were at “historic lows”.

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www.theguardian.com Trump’s crusade against mail-in ballots undercuts campaign pitch to vote early

Campaign toils to convince Republicans to vote early, crucial to winning the election, while ensuring they don’t annoy Trump

Campaign toils to convince Republicans to vote early, crucial to winning the election, while ensuring they don’t annoy Trump

Donald Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting have increasingly caused heartburn for the Trump 2024 campaign as they attempt to undo the self-sabotage by ramping up operations in key battleground states encouraging Republicans to vote early and by mail ahead of the presidential election.

The former US president has continued his crusade in recent months: in December he called for the end of mail-in voting entirely, before claiming in an interview last month that “any time the mail is involved, you’re going to have cheating”.

Trump’s attacks are complicating efforts at the Trump campaign to convince Republicans to vote early, which advisers know is crucial to win the election given Democratic voters have no qualms about voting by mail or organizing ballot initiatives and have given their party a major advantage.

Just 28% of Republicans support allowing any voter to cast a ballot by mail, compared with 84% of Democrats, according to a study in February by the Pew Research Center. A large part of that thinking, sources close to Trump concede, has been driven by the former president’s criticism of early voting.

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A minimum of 16 Trump administration veterans have sharply criticized the ex-president, with terms such as "threat to democracy," "erratic," "delusional" and "narcissistic."

Sarah Matthews was working in the White House on Jan. 6, 2021 when a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. She saw how Trump’s staff tried to get him to condemn the violence for hours without success.

“In my eyes, it was a complete dereliction of duty that he did not uphold his oath of office," Matthews told USA TODAY. "I lost all faith in him that day,”

Matthews resigned from her job as deputy press secretary in the wake of Jan. 6. She views Trump as a threat to democracy who tried to steal the 2020 election and would do it again.

Matthews is part of a large group of former Trump administration officials who have been sharply disapproving of the former president as he seeks to return to the Oval Office. Many who are questioning his fitness for the presidency held high-level positions in the White House, including former Vice President Mike Pence and multiple cabinet members.

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www.cbsnews.com Hawaii is "on the verge of catastrophe," locals say, as water crisis continues

The island home to Hawaii's capital may be surrounded by ocean, but years-long drought conditions, tourist activities and contamination are jeopardizing the island's only source of freshwater.

In Hawaii, one of the most important sayings is ola i ka wai, "water is life" — a phrase that not only sums up what it means to exist on an island, but what it means to live, period. But now, one of the largest of the island chain's land masses is facing a triple threat to its sole freshwater source, and if it isn't addressed soon, one community member says, "we're in deep trouble."

Despite being surrounded by seemingly endless ocean, freshwater on Oahu, the third-largest of Hawaii's six major islands, is not easily accessible. The island relies on an underground aquifer for its water supply. Replenishing that aquifer is a decades-long natural process, as it takes a single drop of water roughly 25 years to make it there from the sky.

And recent years have seen compounding problems: less rain, leading to significant droughts, and repeated jet fuel leaks and PFAS chemical spills contaminating water systems. All of this significantly limits available water use for locals, many of whom say tourism is only worsening the situation. Just months ago, the world's largest surfing wave pool opened up on the island — filled with freshwater.

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www.wbur.org Many FBI agents are struggling to make ends meet. Housing costs are to blame

FBI agents in high-cost areas can face long commutes and trouble paying the bills. Their advocates are asking for a housing allowance to lighten the load.

Many FBI agents based in cities with a high cost of living are struggling to make ends meet, forcing them to make hours-long commutes or double up in apartments, according to bureau and Justice Department officials.

Natalie Bara, president of the FBI Agents Association, said she's heard from two or three agents sharing an apartment near New York City, and others who commute four hours each day, back and forth to their field offices. Some circumstances are even more extreme, she added.

"They're having to juggle being able to afford rent and/or utilities versus being able to actually buy groceries, so it's getting to a level where it's becoming very, very difficult to not only recruit agents into these high cost of living areas, but also retain them in those areas," said Bara, who is a second-generation FBI agent.

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abcnews.go.com US measles elimination status threatened due to 2024 outbreak: CDC report

A new CDC report published Thursday found that the U.S.'s measles elimination status is being threatened due to the most recent outbreak this year.

There have been 113 measles cases reported so far this year.

The most recent outbreak of measles is threatening the United States' elimination status, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published Thursday.

The first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963 and, thanks to a yearslong and highly effective vaccination campaign, measles was considered eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, meaning the disease is no longer constantly present.

Despite occasional outbreaks, the U.S. has been able to maintain its elimination status. Cases have popped up due to international travel and unvaccinated or undervaccinated communities.

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www.cnn.com Russian airstrikes destroy Kyiv’s largest power plant | CNN

The largest power-generating plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region has been destroyed in a Russian missile attack on Thursday, according to the energy company Centrenergo.

Russia destroyed the largest power-generating plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region in a missile attack on Thursday, as President Volodomyr Zelensky accused the West of “turning a blind eye” to his country’s need for more air defenses.

Ukraine’s Air Force said it shot down 18 of the incoming missiles and 39 of the drones. Russia fired 82 missiles and drones in total, including six hypersonic Kinzhal missiles – none of which Ukraine’s air defenses were able to down.

There were no casualties, and the attack has not resulted in power cuts in Ukraine’s capital region Kyiv or other regions supplied by Trypilska TPP.

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www.theguardian.com Florida can’t ban teacher from asking students to use her preferred pronouns, judge rules

Katie Wood, a transgender algebra teacher, has long gone by ‘Ms Wood’ but the law required students to say ‘Teacher Wood’

Katie Wood, a transgender algebra teacher, has long gone by ‘Ms Wood’ but the law required students to say ‘Teacher Wood’

Florida cannot prohibit a 10th-grade math teacher from asking her students to call her by her preferred pronouns, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision from Mark Walker, the US district judge, is a blow to an anti-LGBTQ law championed by Ron DeSantis, the state’s governor, which prohibits discussion of sexuality in public schools. A 2023 expansion of the measure, widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, prohibits teachers and students from using pronouns that align with their gender identity.

The Tuesday decision, a preliminary injunction, blocks Florida from enforcing the law against Katie Wood, a transgender 10th-grade algebra teacher in Hillsborough county. Wood has long gone by “Ms Wood” in school, but the law has made her require her students to call her “Teacher Wood” – a title no one else at the school uses.

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www.nbcnews.com As his trans daughter struggles, a father pushes past his prejudice. ‘It was like a wake-up.’

Dusty Farr is fighting for his transgender daughter's right to use the girls' bathroom at her Missouri high school.

Dusty Farr is fighting for his transgender daughter's right to use the girls' bathroom at her Missouri high school.

Before his transgender daughter was suspended after using the girls’ bathroom at her Missouri high school. Before the bullying and the suicide attempts. Before she dropped out.

Before all that, Dusty Farr was — in his own words — “a full-on bigot.” By which he meant that he was eager to steer clear of anyone LGBTQ+.

Now, though, after everything, he says he wouldn’t much care if his 16-year-old daughter — and he proudly calls her that — told him she was an alien. Because she is alive.

“When it was my child, it just flipped a switch,” says Farr, who is suing the Platte County School District on Kansas City’s outskirts. “And it was like a wake-up.”

Farr has found himself in an unlikely role: fighting bathroom bans that have proliferated at the state and local level in recent years. But Farr is not so unusual, says his attorney, Gillian Ruddy Wilcox of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.

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techcrunch.com US says Russian hackers stole federal government emails during Microsoft cyberattack | TechCrunch

CISA said the latest theft of government email — blamed on Russian government hackers — presents "a grave and unacceptable risk" to U.S. federal agencies.

U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has confirmed that Russian government-backed hackers stole emails from several U.S. federal agencies as a result of an ongoing cyberattack at Microsoft.

In a statement published Thursday, the U.S. cyber agency said the cyberattack, which Microsoft initially disclosed in January, allowed the hackers to steal federal government emails “through a successful compromise of Microsoft corporate email accounts.”

The hackers, which Microsoft calls “Midnight Blizzard,” also known as APT29, are widely believed to work for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR.

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Recently, Donald Trump fans in Florida and Michigan have been auto-generating and spreading around faked “pictures” of Trump surrounded by crowds of Black supporters—and earning significant traction for doing so. Coming at a time when President Joe Biden is worried about losing the Black voters who came out for his 2020 election, the Trump images have become a whole new subgenre of A.I. sludge. And no one in any position of power appears to know what to do about it.

Last month, BBC Panorama reported on the proliferation of these deceitful likenesses. The first example displayed Trump at a Christmas party with his arm around a couple of Black women, one of whom is seen wearing a Pen & Pixel–style tank; another shows him sitting on a house porch with six young Black men, smiling with his hands clasped. Both images gained substantial traction on Facebook, sans disclosure that they were A.I.-generated, and were misleadingly appended as context for stories on Trump’s increasing appeal to Black voters.

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Biden plans to expand two national monuments in California

www.cnn.com Biden plans to expand two national monuments in California | CNN

President Joe Biden plans to expand two national monuments in California – one, a mountainous wilderness area east of Los Angeles, and another with tree-covered rolling hillsides north of Napa – in the coming weeks, according to two sources familiar with the plan.

President Joe Biden plans to expand two national monuments in California – one, a mountainous wilderness area east of Los Angeles, and another with tree-covered rolling hillsides north of Napa – in the coming weeks, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Biden will expand the perimeters of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by about 110,000 acres and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument by about 13,000 acres, one source told CNN. Both monuments were first designated by former President Barack Obama.

“This is huge, to put it as succinctly and as clearly as I can,” Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of California, a longtime advocate for expanding both monuments, told CNN.

National monuments are areas of historic, cultural or natural significance that are designated for federal protection. The redrawn boundaries for the California monuments will serve several purposes, including protecting sacred sites for Native American tribes, conserving land and expanding public access to the outdoors.

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Zelenskyy warns Russia has penetrated US politics, invites Trump to Ukraine
  • Wow the ads. I assumed everyone was already using some sort of ad blocker.

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    EPA imposes first national limits on 'forever chemicals' in drinking water
  • FWIW the most recent analysis I came across from a law professor makes me think the emergence of the "major questions doctrine" is more concerning:

    In Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the US Supreme Court will decide whether to overrule one of its most frequently cited precedents—its 1984 opinion in Chevron v. NRDC. The decision in Loper may change the language that lawyers use in briefs and professors use in class, but is unlikely to significantly affect case outcomes involving interpretation of the statutes that agencies administer. In practice, it’s the court’s new major questions doctrine announced in 2021 that could fundamentally change how agencies operate.

    I am much more concerned about the court’s 2021 decision to create the “major questions doctrine” and to apply it in four other cases than I am about the effects of a potential reversal of Chevron in Loper. Lower courts are beginning to rely on the major questions doctrine as the basis to overturn scores of agency decisions. That doctrine has potential to make it impossible for any agency to take any significant action.

    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/courts-new-chevron-analysis-likely-to-follow-one-of-these-paths

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    Oregon city can't limit church's homeless meal services, federal judge rules
  • Kudos for doing additional research and sharing it with sources!

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    Supreme Court signals it is likely to reject a challenge to abortion pill access
  • Standing is a specific legal term that defines whether a party is allowed to sue, and injury is also a legal term in this case. Cornell Law School has a great intro on the legal requirements to establish standing using a 3-part test:

    • The plaintiff must have suffered an "injury in fact," meaning that the injury is of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent
    • There must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct brought before the court
    • It must be likely, rather than speculative, that a favorable decision by the court will redress the injury.

    In this case, seems to be the Supreme Court is skeptical that these doctors have satisfied this 3-part standing test, especially the injury in fact one. If SCOTUS decides that these doctors don't have standing, then the lawsuit is dismissed.

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    Biden knew Israel was bombing indiscriminately – WaPo
  • Just pointing out the headline seems to imply it’s from WaPo when in fact it was written by RT.

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    Senior doctors in South Korea submit resignations, deepening dispute over medical school plan
  • Agreed. Here's some more context:

    Korea has the second-lowest number of physicians among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, leading to some of the highest doctors' wages among surveyed member nations.

    Doctors in Korea earn the most among 28 member countries that provided related data. Following Korea, the highest earners are in the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and the UK. The US was among the countries for which data was not provided.

    Measured by PPP, which takes into account local living costs, salaried specialists earned an average of $192,749 annually in 2020, According to the 2023 OECD Health Statistics report. That was 60 percent more than the OECD average. Korean GP salaries ranked sixth.

    ... The country also ranked low in the number of medical school graduates -- 7.3 per 100,000 people, which is the third-lowest after Israel and Japan, and nearly half the OCED average of 14 graduates for every 100,000 people.

    https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20230730000088

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    Senior doctors in South Korea submit resignations, deepening dispute over medical school plan
  • These doctors are not telling the whole story. More context from the article:

    Public surveys show that a majority of South Koreans support the government’s push to create more doctors, and critics say that doctors, one of the highest-paid professions in South Korea, worry about lower incomes due to a rise in the number of doctors.

    Officials say more doctors are required to address a long-standing shortage of physicians in rural areas and in essential but low-paying specialties. But doctors say newly recruited students would also try to work in the capital region and in high-paying fields like plastic surgery and dermatology. They say the government plan would also likely result in doctors performing unnecessary treatments due to increased competition.

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    Women are getting off birth control amid misinformation explosion
  • On top of conservative ideology, some people also want to make money:

    Martinez co-founded a menstrual cycle tracking app called 28 that is backed by conservative billionaire and tech mogul Peter Thiel. The company, 28 Wellness, told The Post it does not disclose its investors, but Evie announced Thiel Capital’s support when the product launched. A spokesman for Thiel did not respond to requests for comment. The app’s website declares: “Hormonal birth control promised freedom but tricked our bodies into dysfunction and pain.” The “feminine fitness” app told The Post it has “never been marketed as an alternative to hormonal birth control.”

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    Consumers can start ordering Opill online today
  • From the article:

    No states have made such proposals or actions on restricting access to Opill, but the concern stems from the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in 2022, which reversed Roe v. Wade and overturned the constitutional right to an abortion.

    and:

    But these examples have not set a precedent for what type of authority states may have to restrict access to an FDA-approved medication, Gupta said.

    When it comes to Opill, “many states also allow pharmacists to refuse to participate in ‘health care’ that they find morally objectionable. This could include providing individuals with Opill even though it is OTC,” she said. “Legal approval and actual access are two distinct issues, with the latter influenced by a broader set of factors including state policies, healthcare practices, and socio-economic determinants of health.”

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    States Are Lining Up to Outlaw Lab-Grown Meat
  • And I appreciate your kind words!

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    The 6% commission on buying or selling a home is gone after Realtors association agrees to seismic settlement
  • The CNN article just updated to remove the part about the required 6% and I've updated the summary to match.

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    The 6% commission on buying or selling a home is gone after Realtors association agrees to seismic settlement
  • You may be right it's negotiable, but this lawsuit happened because sellers felt they didn't have a choice:

    The NAR had required homesellers to include the compensation for agents when placing a listing on a multiple listing service. Although NAR has long said commissions are negotiable and that the structure helped making housing more affordable for buyers, critics have long argued that the fees were expected and homesellers felt they would lose buyers if they didn’t offer them.

    ...

    Individual sellers often feel powerless to negotiate a better deal for themselves, given the risk that offering lower commissions could cause brokers to steer buyers to other properties, said Robert Braun, a partner in Cohen Milstein’s antitrust practice.

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    The 6% commission on buying or selling a home is gone after Realtors association agrees to seismic settlement
  • Can you elaborate? NY Times and Washington Post are reporting the same:

    American homeowners could see a significant drop in the cost of selling their homes after a real estate trade group agreed to a landmark deal that will eliminate a bedrock of the industry, the standard 6 percent sales commission.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/15/realestate/national-association-realtors-commission-settlement.html

    The real estate group, which represents 1.5 million real estate agents around the country, said it will pay $418 million over four years to settle several cases, along with agreements to change the rules that plaintiffs alleged supported 5 to 6 percent commissions paid by home sellers. The association said it continues to deny wrongdoing.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/03/15/nar-real-estate-commissions-settlement/

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    States Are Lining Up to Outlaw Lab-Grown Meat
  • You just made my day. Thanks @ptz@dubvee.org!

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